The head of Isuzu in Australia says the Japanese firm is “studying” the possibility of developing a flagship D-Max variant to rival the likes of the Ford Ranger Raptor.

According to GoAuto.com.au, Isuzu Ute Australia director Yoshi Yoshida said the company was “monitoring” demand for variants with added off-road ability and more aggressive styling.

“We see that the competitors like [Nissan Navara N-Trek] Warrior and [Ford Ranger] Raptor, some customers really like those vehicles,” Yoshida said.

“We will keep monitoring that demand and we are also studying if that kind of vehicle is really appreciated by the market or not.

“So, yes, we are having that study internally, but at this moment no clear plan to introduce such a vehicle,” Yoshida added.

Revealed in October 2019, the latest-generation D-Max is powered by a “newly developed” version of the Japanese firm’s familiar 3,0-litre turbodiesel engine, with peak outputs hiked to 140 kW (at 3 600 r/min) and 450 N.m (between 1 600 and 2 600 r/min).

While the new bakkie has already launched in countries such as Thailand (with an Australian market launch set down for September 2020), Isuzu Motors South Africa earlier confirmed local D-Max fans would have to wait until the second half of 2021 to purchase the new-generation, locally built version.